Team USA- 6, Team Canada- 5, OT
I hate to say “told you so”… but told you so! Well, sort of. The majority of us (three out of five) predicted Team USA to win. If it’s any consolation, I’m pretty sure we all predicted this gold medal game to be epic. First and foremost:
Congratulations to Team USA!
They were the better team on New Years eve and last night. Despite a gritty comeback effort to send this game to overtime, it wasn’t quite enough for the Canadians. This was easily the best game they played all tournament. That was the thing that had bothered me most leading up to this game. Both Canadians and Americans (especially the Americans) can be proud of this game and the amazing rivalry they’ve built over the last few games/years. I consider myself lucky to have witnessed such dramatic and exciting hockey played.
There’s two major thoughts I have about Team USA’s gold medal win.
- Two posts – Most Canadians will humbly congratulate Team USA for the win but will quickly point to the two third-period posts Canada hit. Yes, the score and game could have been much different if one or both of those shots had gone in. In saying that, Jordan Eberle’s game tying goal was pretty fluke-lucky too. An American player had no stick and Eberle’s shot hit another US stick and part of Jack Campbell’s arm before crossing the goal line. When you consider the mini events that took place for that to happen, Canada was pretty lucky to get into overtime.
- US’ win is a good thing – I think US winning this tournament is a great thing for hockey. This US team had 10 players from non-traditional hockey markets (Oregon, Nevada, Oklahoma, etc…). If hockey (and the NHL) want to continue to grow globally, America has to get engaged and what better way to start that than with this American team winning the 2010 World Junior Championship. It won’t end there either. It’s clear the United States development program is working and will continue to produce great hockey players. The World Junior tournament is sometimes seen as Canada’s tournament to lose. Canada’s dethroning will help build better rivalries which can only help new fans get into this great game.
Before signing off, here’s a few random thoughts from the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship. Feel free to add your own in the comments section below.
- Derek Stepan’s goal (the fifth US goal) was very reminiscent to that Marc-Andre Fleury moment in Helsinki, Finland in the 2004 World Junior gold medal game (also against Team USA). And yes, I had this written before seeing it on TSN. Seriously, who wasn’t thinking this when it happened?
- What kind of player is Nazem Kadri? Is he a pure goal scorer, a power forward, or something else? I’m not sure yet. While his skill is apparent – he’s a great hockey player despite being a Toronto Maple Leaf – I’m still unclear where or what his niche is.
- According to TSN, Saskatchewan sold $105,000 worth of beer at this tournament (I’m assuming beer at the games/events). At $10 a beer, that’s …. **brain explodes**
- The Americans are shot blocking masters. The Ottawa Senators could probably use any one of those American skaters in nets right now. They’d be better than Brian Elliott and Pascal Leclaire.
- Alex Pietrangelo’s composure all tournament was amazing. I loved his decision making when holding the puck in critical moments on the blue line, in the neutral zone, etc… Another great St. Louis Blues prospect.
- I feel like I never saw enough of Brandon Kozun all tournament long. I’ll remember him most for his shootout winning goal in the New Years eve CAN-US game and the post he hit in the third period of the gold medal game. Beyond that, I still wanted to see more of Kozun.
- Jordan Eberle is the all time goal scoring leader in Canadian World Junior hockey history. In my opinion, his two years in the World Junior Championship stand as the best Canadian performance (in this tournament) ever.
Stay classy, Team USA. Congrats on your second World Junior Championship gold medal.